ANY advice would be appreciated. I'm feeling SO desparate.
The one other thing I notice you didn’t mention is your water. I
wonder whether there’s some slight impurity, some sulphur based
compound, perhaps, that could be tarnishing the silver. Some
municipal water supplies vary with seasonal changes, when the water
is from a surface watershed or reservoirs, rather than deep aquafer
wells. In that case, summer warm weather might require a city to
change treatments or additives to ensure safe water. I wonder
whether that coulf affect it, and whether using commercially bottled
water, or perhaps even distilled water, might eliminate the problem.
I bacame aware of this with my fish tank, noticing significant
differences in the ph, and the chlorine/chloramine levels in Seattle
water from winter to summer. Both the above are significant when
maintaining a fish tank. Perhaps is’t somehow also significant to
your tumbler. In addition to the safety additives, municipalities
may add alkaline additives to raise the ph in order to retard
corrosion. These too, might have some effect.
And I’d suggest that dish soaps may not be the best choices. many
handwash detergents have various skin moisurizers, and perhaps
disinfectants, etc, added, some of which might react with your metal.
I don’t know this for sure, it’s just a guess. But worth trying.
Also, I’d suggest not mixing different types of metal (gold with
silver) in the same batch. Sometimes you get some transfer from the
softer metal to the harder, or other such reactions.
I’m surprised you needed to send your shot to Rio for cleaning.
they’ll be happy to sell you some steel shot cleaner, which you run
in the barrel with just the shot, instead of burnishing soap. Cleans
it quite well. And I’d want to make sure your flow through system is
set up so as to be sure you’re not accidentally rinsing all your
burnishing compound or soap out of the charge with the flow through.
It should be set to instroduce not just water, but water with the
burnishing soap/compound, to maintain the level of compound in the
tubler. frankly, I’ve never found smaller tumblers to really nead a
flow through system all that badly, though they’re convenient. I
used to use an old but aggressive rotary tumbler with ordinary steel
shot and the standard powdered burnishing compound with both silver
and gold (one at a time). After running the needed time, upon
opening the tumbler, the water would now be a foaming grey to black
gunk well in need of a good rinsing. But the silver or gold would
be clean and bright.
Hope that helps.